Council Tax Policy on Exempt F empty properties

This is in regard to long term empty properties where the 'owner' or beneficiary has not applied for probate for several years. I am trying to find out if it would be possible for a Local Authority to have a policy along the lines of:

'If the property has been empty for x number of years without applying for probate then the LA will charge for the full amount unless the ‘owner’ can give sufficient reason (possibly a letter from their solicitor?) for not applying for probate in x number of years'.

I know nothing about legislation around this point, but does anyone out there know whether there is anything in the relevant legislation that would prevent Councils from having a policy like this? That is, would such a policy be illegal?

Many thanks Hilary

hhardwicke@eastdevon.gov.uk

Forums: 
Council tax - discounts, access to info etc

As far as I am aware there is no time limit for probate and it does not have to be applied for unless it is to prove ownership so that an the asset can be sold.  However if there was a will and the property was left to X or X & Y then as that is a legal document then X or X & Y are the owners, probate is only the way of varifying that the will was/is valid. Logically if they are the owners then they are liable for cost of owning the property.  A legal consultant should be able to clarify.
Regards
Sarah May
Braintree DC 
 

Hi Hilary
The exemption categories are laid down in statute - a succession of Statutory Instruments over the years.  So no, you cannot have a policy that over-rides that.
We have the consolidated legislatoin (pre Local Government Finance Bill) in our library (payinig members only - so you'll need to be logged in).